Manual vs automatic transmissions

If you're in the market for a new or "newer" car, you may have noticed that stick shifts can often cost significantly less than automatics.

We're referring here to the car's transmission. In the "old" days all cars were stick shifts (aka: manual transmissions.) Today, less than four percent of cars sold are.

Should you buy a manual or an automatic?

That depends, say automobile experts. Until now, manual transmissions have offered better gas mileage. However, technology is now producing some automatics that are actually better on gas than manuals, according to Edmunds.

There's also a good reason there are more automatics than manuals today. They're easier to drive. Manuals require more engagement on the part of the driver. With a manual, you have a clutch, and you have to coordinate your clutch and brake each time you want to shift gears. Stopping on hills or even a slight incline can also be challenging.

But, there is a good argument for manual transmissions in that proponents say they enjoy being more engaged, getting a better "feel" for the car, and having more control than is possible with an automatic transmission.

Bear in mind that it's harder to find a car with a manual transmission now. And even if you do, if you're not familiar with a manual, are you willing to learn/ If you're a "lazy" driver (if you want the car to do the work for you) you'll likely want to continue driving automatic.

Also, consider the fact that if you drive in heavy, congested traffic, a manual transmission means frequent shifting of gears. And if you decide to sell your car later you may have a harder time finding a buyer, notes Consumer reports, which advises doing your research on the particular model you're interested in before buying, looking at fuel economy, acceleration and shift quality.

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Transmission
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